12 books for better government

12 books for better government

I’m doing some spring cleaning and parting ways with a number of my beloved government-focused books. Before I do, I wanted to share the ones I’m letting go of that I highly recommend to those involved in re-thinking the way government works, and its changing role given the way the world is evolving.

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Question for a New Utopia, Anthony Townsend. Thorough overview of how cities are balancing the big vendor approach to government technology and the role citizen technologists will play in co-creating communities.

Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government, Gavin Newsom, Lisa Dickey. Accessible, big picture take of what’s being done through open data and collaboration and other new technologies that are powering a new wave of government IT.

The Solution Revolution: How Business, Government, and Social Enterprises Are Teaming Up to Solve Society’s Toughest Problems, William D. Eggers, Paul Macmillan. Provides insight into the impact of the sharing economy, especially as governments navigate and address the role it plays on policy and local constituent services.

The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance, Stephen Goldsmith, Susan Crawford. Discusses the influence and importance of data in managing more effectives cities.

Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government, Aneesh Chopra. Highlights how the federal government is baking in technology innovation in the context of his time as U.S. chief technology officer.

Open Data Now: The Secret to Hot Startups, Smart Investing, Savvy Marketing, and Fast Innovation, Joel Gurin. Deep-dive into open data’s role in empowering the big data-driven economy and the entrepreneurs and ventures behind it, and why governments should increase resources and energy towards it.

A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit, Tim Ryan. Technology isn’t going to save us on its own, and a mindfulness approach to people in the broad context of society will help those hesitant to change feel more comfortable and ground those who think they know it all.

Open Government, Daniel Lathrop, Laurel Ruma. One of the original books that ushered in the Gov 2.0 wave that’s still worthwhile as a foundation for why transparency and open data are fundamental and important.

The foundation for an open source city, Jason Hibbets. A practical guide for city leaders engaging with local civic technologists, as well as a blueprint for the latter in creating an organic culture of collaboration.

Beyond Transparency: Open Data and the Future of Civic Innovation, Brett Goldstein, Lauren Dyson. Holistic take on open data from multiple leaders in the open government movement,  published by Code for America.

Social Media in the Public Sector: A Guide to Participation, Collaboration and Transparency in The Networked World, Ines Mergel. An academic but important understanding of how government is leveraging social media, and why it should embrace it as a crucial means of communicating and engaging residents and citizens.

Civic Apps Competition Handbook, Kate Eyler-Werve, Virginia Carlson. Much of the tactical elements of civic apps competitions have evolved since this was published but, nonetheless, a helpful understanding of the importance and role of this type of program and how governments can encourage and lead on this front.

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at luke@govfresh.com.

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